Saturday, September 20, 2008

SAFF sweater progress

I'm making the Bold Zebra pattern from Guy Knits as my SAFF sweater this year.
I've finished the back and I'm almost finished with the front.

The colors are brighter and pop out more in the photo. I'm not one to shy away from bright colors though. Maybe I was some kind of colorful animal in a past life and I'm trying to recapture my true color... and it was not a mandrill! I can hear it now. I was thinking more along the lines of a butterfly or tropical fish or somethin', since I'm such a fragile and flitting creature... NOT! ;)

I've also started a sweater for my cousins little girl from a Debbie Bliss pattern.
I'm using Rowan handknit cotton and I'd forgotten how much knitting with cotton makes my hands hurt. Since it doesn't have any stretch, it tends to make my hands hurt (I'm a tight knitter). I just have to do in in small increments.

I made a batch of sushi for my dinner tonight and have sufficiently overstuffed my belly. There was plenty left over for raids later too. :) Michael still hasn't dared to try a piece. I guess it's just that scary nori seaweed that has him nervous. More for me! I think I could eat the entire container of pickled ginger as a meal in itself.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blooming orchid

I just noticed this morning that the orchid I have in the terrarium on my desk is blooming! This is only the third time it has bloomed in about 9 years.

At one time I could have told you what variety this is, but I haven't a clue anymore. Someone out there may recognize it. It is one of the minature varieties of orchids. Usually there are blooms all the way around making a tiny umbrella of blooms. This one has a few missing. It hasn't been looking it's best in a while, that's why I'm so surprised to see it blooming.

I've received a blog award!! How cool!

Thanks Claudia! I'd nominate you too!

Of course, there are rules attached to the award:

1. Post this award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least 4 other bloggers, and add their links as well.
4. Leave a comment at the new recipients' blogs, so they can pass it on.

I am nominating HockeyMom (Sandy), PlazaJen , ChickenGoddess (Alma) and KnitWitch (Brittany).

I'm looking forward to a trip to Texas in a couple of weeks to spend time with family and to attend my sister's wedding. I just hope that the gas prices will have come back down somewhat by the time we leave. I averaged 42mpg going to Iowa, so it's not too much of a price difference, but every extra dollar counts on a trip.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and condolences concerning my grandmother and most recently our dog Emily. It's been a rough few weeks, but sometimes life just isn't what we would like to see and we have to work at it from day to day. I know having good friends and family around me to spend time with, to laugh with and sometimes even cry is what keeps me going.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Emily

I just spoke with Michael and he let me know that our 17 year old Lhasa Apso Emily died this afternoon about 2:30. Her health had been slowly deteriorating over the last year and this past Saturday she had what seemed to be maybe a stroke and lost control of her back legs and was incontinent for a few hours. She did regain the use of her legs yesterday, but was up all night confused about where she was and barking for help. She was always such a quiet dog and hardly ever barked, so this was very unusual for her. She had another episode this afternoon and Michael bathed her and had her wrapped in a towel afterward and subsequently she just went limp in his arms and died. Although this wasn't unexpected, I know Michael is going to be feeling lost without her.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pangs of guilt

I told a few people about this when I got back the other day, but I have been wracked with guilt ever since it occurred.

As most of my friends know, I have a real soft spot in my heart for cats. The two I have right now, Bob and Blanche, I rescued from the parking lot of the apartments I was living in 7 years ago. I felt that I was put in the right place at the right time to give them the home they needed. When I was driving home from Iowa the other day, it was early in the morning at about 6:30 and the sun was coming up and I had a very sudden urge to stop and take a picture of the sunrise. I saw an overpass coming up quickly and decided to stop there for the vantage point and almost skidded to a stop in order not to pass it. I was out of the car and getting the camera ready to take a picture when I heard a sound in the brush beside the road. It was a young, tiny black and white kitten and as soon as it saw me it made a beeline right for me screaming as if it was so glad to see someone. The road was just a few hundred yards from a row of houses and at first I figured it had probably just wandered away from mama. At least that's what I had convinced myself was the probable scenario. I was afraid it would try to follow me to the car and get underneath it so I crumbled up some rice cake snacks on the ground and it was eating away at it hungrily as I drove off. I immediatly started to feel guilty, knowing that it more than likely was a kitten that had been dumped beside the road. If it were a feral kitten it wouldn't have approached me so quickly and easily. I know what wild farm cats are like and they don't behave that way. I had to talk myself into believing that it would find it's way back to the houses or mama was closeby hiding under the bridge and would be back to take care of it. Now my heart is so filled with regret. I was once again put in a place that did not feel like a coincidence to rescue another lost kitten and I talked myself out of doing what I knew in my heart was the right thing to do. Something had inspired me to suddenly stop at that particular place and now I'm having a hard time even thinking about how to forgive myself for being so cold and uncaring.

Monday, September 8, 2008

trip to Iowa

I've just returned from an unplanned trip to Iowa. My maternal grandmother of 96 passed away Sunday a week ago. I was there for a week for the funeral and to be with family. My mom, dad and sister drove up from Texas and met me at my aunt and uncle's house. The service was very nice and there is a lot to be said for a small town funeral. It really reminds you of what a family truly is. It had been 8 years since my last visit up there and it was great to see all my extended family even though the circumstances weren't of the pleasant kind.
It's a 13 hour drive for me and I stopped in St. Louis on the way up there. I drove straight through on the way back leaving Iowa at 4:45 in the morning to get back at about 7:15. I return to work tomorrow.
I took some pictures while there to share.

This was taken from the front porch of my aunt and uncle's house at about 7:00 in the morning. The silo is the neighbors farm across the road. They are now raising llamas instead of cattle or pigs. I wanted to go and visit, but just didn't get to it.

This is my uncle Kenny mowing the yard. Everything is so green there compared to Georgia. They have had more than enough rain this year. Their farm is about 30 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids which had a major flood a little over a month ago. They've had so much rain that a lot of the crops were planted later than normal because the soil was too wet.

This is a horse and buggy parked outside the general store (called Stringtown) in Kalona, Iowa. I bought a load of spices while there that they buy in bulk, repackage and sell for a great price. My $40 dollars worth filled an entire paper grocery bag.

My sister and I took a walk to photograph and collect some wildflowers (my aunt calls them ALL weeds). We think they are pretty. If you look closely in the bottom center of this picture you will see a remanant "weed" from when a particular plant was cultivated as a cash crop in Iowa. (rhymes with kemp) No, it's not the illicit kind, just the kind you would harvest for the fiber.

This is a flower we had never seen in Iowa before. Not sure what it is but I really love the lantern seed pods.

Here is a gathering of beetles on a milkweed pod.

My aunt sent me home with tomatoes from her garden so we had BLT's for lunch today. She always has such beautiful tomatoes in her garden every year and they are sooo good when they are picked ripe from the garden.

Yesterday was our 7th anniversary (copper). I bought Michael a hammered copper humidor and a little shell dish. The shell was so tarnished, and not in the pretty way, it took me a few hours just to polish it . It really did polish up nicely though.

The humidor, called a Rumidor, is in great condition. There was some really nice patina, on one side, but the other was actually kind of gross looking, so i just polished the whole thing and will let it acquire a new, more pleasant patina all over.